This is my attempt at a restaurant and food review. While it isn’t my first time to publish my feedback on food places, this is my first time to post one in my blog. Honestly, I don’t know how “proper” food bloggers do it, so I’ll just wing this and give my honest opinion about this ramen place.
Alright, now that you have been warned about my inexperience, let’s start.
I’ve been craving ramen for some days now, and what with the bullshit that this week gave me (ie: getting sick, stressed at work, stress about prospective jobs, stress about family shizz…), I decided to splurge a little once I get my measly salary. Friday payday came and so I went to the nearest food strip and looked around for an affordable ramen place.
I had several choices but ultimately, I settled on Ikkoryu, which is situated in SM Southmall’s Foodstrip. I came around 1pm, so the place wasn’t crowded. The surroundings were clean and I was greeted immediately by their waiter who promptly found me a suitable seat. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a photo of the interior because I initially didn’t plan on posting about this. (Sorry!)
I did a bit of quick research while waiting for my food, and I learned that Ikkoryu stemmed from ‘Ichi’, meaning ‘one’ or ‘first’, ‘Kor’ came from the name of the founder’s brother, and ‘Yu’ meaning ‘style’. Hence, Ikkoryu means Our Number One Style. Fukuoka is is a place in Kyushu, which is considered to be the Ramen Capital of Japan.
As soon as I was seated, a server gave me a glass of water, and asked me if I’d like to have disposable chopsticks instead. Whoa. Talk about proactive service! Well, I’m not picky with my utensils so I said I was cool with the reusable chopsticks.
Their menu, while not as “extensive” as other restaurants, was suitable in my opinion, in terms of the array of ramen and other noodles. They have Udon, some Donburi, Tempura and desert. They also serve alcoholic drinks and I regret not trying one. Next time, I promise.
I decided to go with their lunch set: the miso tonkotsu ramen with karaage and the hiyashi chuka salad. You can choose the consistency of your noodles: soft, normal, hard, extra hard. I chose hard noodles because I want them a bit more chew-y. Their house blend tea can also be served hot or cold. I decided to go with hot tea because this helps in digestion.
I wanted to try their matcha ice cream but I was not confident enough that I can finish it (no worries, I’ll try it next time).
The first to arrive was my hot tea, served in ceramic wares.
The taste was okay. I think it’s the traditional black tea served in dimsum shops, but I’m not entirely sure since I didn’t ask the server. Anyway, there wasn’t extremely remarkable about the tea, except that it was just the perfect temperature for me–not scalding hot, but not cool either. Just right.
The next food to be promptly served was the hiyashi chuka, and according to the menu, it’s basically Japanese cold noodle salad.
The serving was big and the “chips” (I honestly do not know what sort of chips they were but I’m guessing it’s fish or prawn) were just the right crispiness. The cold noodles tasted a little sour with a hint of umami, and mixed with the lightly seasoned chips, the combo was amazing! The best way to eat it, I discovered, was to eat it like nachos: scoop a bit of the noodles and place it on top of the chips. That way you get the double burst of flavor. I’m not sure if that’s the correct way to eat it but it worked for me. Haha!
Following the salad was the main dish which was the ramen. Again, I was pleasantly surprised by the promptness of the staff in bringing in the food. So far, great service!
I ordered the miso tonkotsu ramen with a side of karaage.
In terms of serving size, I know that Ikkoryu’s portions are smaller compared to other restaurants but I think it’s reasonable especially if we take into consideration the cost. Other ramen places charge around 450 pesos and up for a bowl of ramen that is larger than Ikkoryu, and while that is fine, for me it’s not economical due to the fact that personally, I cannot finish it, hence, it’s a waste of money.
The karaage was a bit pepper-y but I liked it because it wasn’t spicy compared to other ramen places that I’ve tried. I have a weakness for spicy food so anything with a ‘kick’ is already overkill for me. Also, while it may seem again that the serving portion for the karaage is small, it’s actually just enough for its price, since the chicken slices are indeed chicken (unlike some restaurants where the karaage is 90% breading and 10% chicken). Also, the shredded cabbage was delicious because instead of just japanese mayonnaise, there was also a hint of mirin (I dunno if my tastebuds were just fooling me) or soy sauce (not really sure but hell, it was great!).
The star of the dish though, was the ramen and I wasn’t disappointed. The broth was thick and savory, a little creamy, and the chashu slice was thick. They also got the consistency of the noodles down pat. It wasn’t soggy or thick like the noodles for pancit habhab (lol!) In addition, the wood ear was chewy and added extra umami flavor to the dish. Partnered with the karaage and the salad, it was a pleasant burst of flavor.
Another plus point is the spoon, which had a long handle compared to other restaurants that I’ve tried where the spoon almost dips into the bowl.
After a while of slurping the broth though, I felt that the savory-ness was a little overbearing, and that is when I’d eat the salad, karaage and shredded cabbage then down it with the tea. I realized that the combination of these flavors complimented each other, since after munching on the salad, I felt like my tastebuds were rejuvenated and ready for that miso taste once more. I dunno if I’m still making sense, but I guess all I want to say is that the meal was superb!
It was finally time to pay, and by then I had finished my ramen, cabbage and karaage. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to eat the entire salad because I was so stuffed! I also chugged down the remaining tea in the cute sakura teapot. Lol.
I paid a little over 400 pesos (438.95 pesos to be exact). Here’s the breakdown of the food:
Miso Tonkotsu Ramen and Karaage lunch set (which includes the tea) – 299pesos + Hiyashi Chuka salad – 100pesos + Service Charge = 438.95 pesos
And also a breakdown of my “rating” of the resto:
Service: 5/5 – polite and attentive staff. They do not rush through your order and accommodates you once your seated
Price: 5/5 – reasonable serving sizes and price. Again, I will argue with some that might say that the size of the ramen was too small. True, it is smaller than other portions being served in other ramen houses but then again, these big bowls of ramen are often left unfinished, so instead of actually being “sulit”– to me, it isn’t because you’ll be leaving with leftovers which will be simply thrown out. Unless of course you’ll bring it home with you, but what’s the use of eating soggy ramen? Hence, I’d prefer a 300-peso ramen that I can easily finish and enjoy the taste at the same time. So, yes, reasonable at sulit pa rin ang ramen sa Ikkoryu, in my honest opinion.
Ambience: 4.5/5 – clean and modern but I think the modern aesthetic had dulled the Japanese atmosphere. Personally, I’d appreciate it if there were more pieces that added to the Japanese feel of the resto, such as decorative cups perhaps?
Taste: 5 – for the price I paid, yes, the ramen deserves a rating of 5, as well as the cold noodle salad and the karaage. Of course, it would be impossible to judge it based on “authentic” japanese ramen since I’ve never been to Japan and actually tasted one, so I believe it’s just fair to rate it based on how it fares with other ramen being served here in the Philippines.
Overall, my dining experience in Ikkoryu was superb and worth the travel. Staff are attentive, the place is clean, the price is within my budget, the taste of the food is great and serving portions are just enough. I’ll definitely go back!
(You may browse their menu here)